Copying, cutting, and pasting of layers and selections are among the most common operations in the GIMP. In this book, these operations are used extensively in Chapter 4, where they are needed for building masks; in Chapter 8, where they are used for image rendering; and in Chapter 7, where they are essential for compositing.
The commands for copying, cutting, and pasting are found in the Image:Edit menu, but they are so useful that memorizing their keyboard shortcuts is indispensable. The Copy command can be performed by typing C-c in the image window, cutting by typing C-x, and pasting by typing C-v. As will be seen in Chapters 2, 3, and 4, copying, cutting, and pasting are the most expeditious methods of moving layers and selections between image windows and between layer and channel masks.
The GIMP manages copying, cutting, and pasting using buffers. Whenever a generic copy or cut is performed, it is placed into the default buffer, replacing whatever was there. A generic paste uses the contents of the default buffer without clearing it, so the contents can be reused until they are replaced by another copy or cut operation. A copy or cut places the active layer, channel mask, or layer mask into the buffer. If a selection is active in the image window, only the part of the active layer contained in the selection is placed in the buffer.
Several special paste functions are available in the Image:Edit menu. If an image contains an active selection, the Paste Into function places the contents of the default buffer into the selection, clipping the pasted image to the selection's boundaries. The pasted image can be repositioned using the Move tool. The Paste As New function places the contents of the default buffer into a new image window that has dimensions just large enough to accommodate the pasted image.
There is also a special copy function called Copy Visible. Instead of copying the active layer to the default buffer, this function copies all the visible layers or, if a selection is active, the parts of the visible layers within the selection boundaries. If the image consists of more than one layer the copied contents are flattened, removing the layered structure, before being placed into the default buffer.
In addition to the generic, default buffer, the GIMP also has named
buffers. If a large number of copy, cut, or paste operations is
required, the named buffers
can be useful for organizing and distributing the pieces.
Pasting from a named buffer is performed using the Paste
Named command, found in the Image:Edit menu.